Getting caught up in the fun of the Holiday season doesn’t mean that you should be remiss and forget that with all the extra baking, decorating, and running around, that accidents can happen. A trip to the emergency room should certainly not be on your to-do list this year.
With all the hustle and bustle the last thing anyone needs on his or her plate is to have a mishap around the Apartment. By taking a few apartment safety precautions, you can make sure that your holiday season is not only one filled with joy, family, and friends, but will also be one of the safest ones to date.
Stringing Up the Lights
The lights are one of the first holiday decorations to go up around the apartment. Whether they are put on a Christmas Tree, strung from your breakfast bar, or even wrapped around your balcony railing, it is important to check them out before you hang them.
Older lights – those that radiate more heat than the newer versions – can be a fire hazard if left plugged in for a long time. If your lights are so old that they don’t have a tested insurance on their packaging, it’s time to replace them with a newer version. Also, a helpful tip for those who are forgetful about unplugging them at the end of the night: put your lights on a timer.
Make sure that when you are buying a set of lights to go outside of a window or on your balcony, that you select a set of outdoor lights. This also includes picking up an extension cord that is acceptable to leave outside.
Finally, make certain that if you plan to hang up some lights outside on your balcony, that you have someone there to help you. If you choose to use a ladder to reach a higher spot, you will need a friend to hold it for you and to pass you the lights.
Don’t Overload Your Outlets
While we’re on the topic of extension cords and lights, it can be easy to want to plug all of the extras into one outlet. Just because there are plug-ins that allow for you to have 10 cords all into one spot, does not mean that you should. Break it up, buy an extension cord that will allow for you to go into another room if you have to, just make sure that your safety comes first.
Do you prefer the smell of a real tree? Or do you like the ease of putting up an artificial tree; one that stores neatly away after each Christmas? Whichever you prefer, keep in mind that both variations can be flammable.
It is important to maintain a healthy level of water for your real tree so that it doesn’t become too dry; a dry tree is the fastest way to an unwanted bonfire in your apartment. When picking your tree, don’t pick one where the needles are already falling off; pick one that smells of fresh pine, has some sticky resin on its needles and branches, and that is a healthy green.
Ultimately, you want a tree that can stand to be up in your apartment for at least two weeks. In older European traditions, it was common practice to put lit candles in a tree; today, however, it is best to stick with modern electric lights.
Wherever you choose to place your tree, whether real or artificial, be careful not to place it by a heat source, such as vents, baseboard heaters, or a fireplace. With a real tree, heat draws out its moisture making it more susceptible to burst into flames; for an artificial tree, verify that you have one that is flame-resistant and non-combustible.
And while we’re discussing the placement of your tree, while we all love to position them in front of a window so that others outside can see our beautiful lights and decorations, take care that you don’t block your emergency escape route. If you have to, shuffle around some furniture into another room to make the appropriate space for your tree.
The holiday season is the perfect time of year to light those pine or cinnamon-scented candles you’ve been saving. They are wonderful for adding the right atmosphere to your apartment and help make your place smell festively delicious.
But, sometimes we can forget to blow them out before we leave our apartment or go to bed for the night. If you need a reminder to blow out all the candles, set one on your phone or make it a habit to walk around your apartment before you head off to bed.
Also, make sure that you follow the instructions on the candle which tell you how long the wick is to be trimmed to, as well as the length of time for which you are suggested to burn your candle. Also, run any recently-lit matches under water before you toss them in the garbage.
Baking Cookies and Treats
Baking goodies (with or without kids,let’s be honest) is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. But when the little ones are around, it’s necessary to take some extra precautions. While it is fun to see little hands pour out the flour and try and crack an egg while actually getting it into the bowl, it should be reminded that there are some tasks not meant for small hands.
The first thing to remember – obviously – is that the oven is hot, and small children need to be well away from the oven when an adult is opening and closing it. Another precaution is that cutting with a sharp knife or scissors, as well as working on a hot stove, stirring hot caramel, for example, require adult supervision.
Make sure that all treats are cooled down before consumption, as having a burnt tongue is far worse than having a sore tummy from all the extra treats. Also, make sure that you turn off your oven and all elements on your stovetop when you have finished creating your home-made masterpieces.
Falling Asleep by the Fireplace
Fireplaces are an enchanting way to warm up your apartment and to help create a cozy atmosphere, and it can be easy to fall asleep and forget about them. But these too can be dangerous if left on and are forgotten about; make sure to turn them off when not in use.
Also, make sure to put all wrapping paper in a garbage bag and not in your fireplace to dispose of. Paper ignites quickly and fiercely, keep your fireplace for warmth and not as a garbage disposal.
Nothing can take away from a merry and celebratory event when an accident happens that was entirely preventable. But if you make sure to use fire-proof decorations; that you check the lights and use the proper ones for both indoor and outdoor locations, and that you use caution with candles, fireplaces, and ovens, you can be sure that you are being proactive about holiday safety.
Make your holiday season a time to remember for the right reasons; not because the police or fire department had to make an emergency visit over the holidays, but because you had fun with family and friends and brought the spirit of the holidays into your apartment.
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